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I want to be an Ally

I'm often approached, particularly during this time of protest, advocacy, and social justice, by white friends and acquaintances, wondering "where can I start"? My typical response to them is generally "you start with yourself" by looking within, examining and addressing your own involvement as a white person in racist systems. This is a lot to unpack and will take time and deeper learning; lots of time. In the meantime, I offer suggestions to allies on actions they can take now to practice advocacy and take action.

What is your city or county doing to address police brutality? Find out and get involved by putting pressure on the city council and county board of supervisors. Are claims filed against the police department investigated by the police, city attorney, or mayor? These create conflicts of interest and often result in keeping the status quo in policing. Join an organization that advocates for an independent oversight commission on policing and holding the PD (Police department) accountable for their actions.

BEFORE you give your vote, demand from your school board to city council to state senators to make racial justice a priority as part of their platform. Often candidates don't. Request it.

Do you know what the racial opportunity gap is in your school district? Find out from the teachers, the principal, and/or the district, then ask what is being done about it?

Are the history and accomplishments of Black people and other people of color found in your child’s textbook? Does it only happen during Black History Month? Is literature read by students by Black authors? Demand inclusive education as a priority for all students and reflected throughout the year.

Support Black-owned businesses. Find a list of businesses in your area. BuyBlack is a good resource. Local cities also have Black Facebook pages that list Black businesses.

Donate to organizations that fight for racial oppression and support communities of color in your city and county. Support the grassroots ones.

Donate to the National Bail Out fund or a local nonprofit fighting for bail reform to eliminate the cash bailout system.

Support legislation in your state that is working to eliminate disparities, ensure accountability and transparency, and increase racial representation in public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Read up on how to be an anti-racist, on the history of racism to begin to understand how did we get here.

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